Law enforcement recently raided a personal care facility which housed people with mental illness and disabilities. The residents were hungry, the facility infested with insects, and there was no air conditioning. When law enforcement and other agencies arrived, the residents cried and clapped.
Unlicensed personal care homes have become a base of operations to obtain benefit checks, food stamps, and social security, Medicaid, and veteran benefits. Georgia has about 1800 licensed personal care homes. The number of complaints about unlicensed facilities is on the rise: 293 in 2014. New laws are on the books creating felony offenses, but financial support for enforcement is needed to combat the problem. Public awareness is a first step in shutting down these illegal facilities.
If you are considering placing a loved one in a personal care home, we recommend the following:
- Visit the place;
- Ask questions and verify answers;
- Visit Google or other research aids to see complaints, if any;
- Contact the Georgia Department of Community Health for history, complaints, license requirements, and regulations;
- Speak with folks who have used the facility for a loved one; speak with folks who formerly worked at the facility; and speak with as many staff as possible who presently work at the facility; and
- Lastly, keep copies of all literature, proposed contracts, etc.